Two women sit on a couch talking

Q&A with Bellmont Partners’ New Senior Account Executive, Krista Kuzma

In ear­ly Novem­ber, Bell­mont Part­ners wel­comed a new Senior Account Exec­u­tive to the team. Her arrival feels a bit like a full-cir­cle moment for some of us.

After 16 years sup­port­ing var­i­ous projects on behalf of Mid­west Dairy and more than 5,000 dairy farm­ers through­out the region – includ­ing Minnesota’s famous Princess Kay of the Milky Way pro­gram – we’re excit­ed to wel­come a for­mer jour­nal­ist we’ve worked close­ly with for most of that time: Krista Kuz­ma. Krista, a for­mer asso­ciate edi­tor at a dairy indus­try news­pa­per, served as a dairy princess/ambassador while grow­ing up on a dairy farm in south­ern Min­neso­ta. We talked with her about her love of telling sto­ries – both about the dairy industry’s peo­ple and prod­ucts, and across near­ly every oth­er industry.

Tell us about grow­ing up on a farm. 

My par­ents and sev­er­al extend­ed fam­i­ly mem­bers run Shee­knoll Farms, a 300-cow and 900-acre dairy farm just out­side Rochester, Min­neso­ta. Some of my favorite mem­o­ries grow­ing up hap­pened while help­ing with chores. Most peo­ple don’t think chores are fun, but I think they are – at least most of the time. It was so much fun to both work and play along­side my sib­lings and cousins, with so much space to run around and nev­er a short­age of things to do. My ear­li­est mem­o­ries are of help­ing my mom feed calves, and now I love to take my daugh­ters (Eleanor, 6, and Char­lotte, 3) out to the farm to help, too.

What sparked your inter­est in telling stories? 

As a 4‑H mem­ber and dairy ambas­sador grow­ing up, I spent plen­ty of time telling peo­ple about dairy. I was always pas­sion­ate about shar­ing our sto­ry and loved teach­ing peo­ple about how milk trav­eled from the farm to their tables, so I decid­ed to pur­sue a career in ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion after col­lege. It didn’t take me long to learn that teach­ing wasn’t quite the right fit for me, so I switched gears and start­ed tak­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion class­es. I real­ized I loved writ­ing, espe­cial­ly when it gave me a chance to talk to peo­ple and hear their sto­ries. I love it when oth­er peo­ple get so excit­ed about things they want to share. That gets me get excit­ed about their sto­ries and makes me want to get oth­er peo­ple excit­ed about them.

Tell us about some of your favorite assignments.

Wow, there are so many that have been so fun. I love being in some­one else’s ele­ment where they have a chance to show me what they’re doing and why they’re excit­ed about it. It’s been reward­ing to be a dairy com­mu­ni­ty reporter and do so many on-farm inter­views. I love it when a farm fam­i­ly gets excit­ed about a new project that’s going to help cre­ate more oppor­tu­ni­ties for their oper­a­tion, or when they’re excit­ed about a hob­by or some oth­er unique or unex­pect­ed inter­est. There have also been some fun off-farm moments, includ­ing cov­er­ing Princess Kay of the Milky Way and Fuel Up to Play 60 stu­dents on the field at a Vikings game, watch­ing dairy farm­ers inter­act with foot­ball fans at the Super Bowl Expe­ri­ence and trav­el­ing to Cal­i­for­nia to cov­er World Ag Expo.

What’s it like being “on the oth­er side” of the sto­ry pitch­ing process? 

It has been excit­ing and eye-open­ing. I didn’t real­ize how many oppor­tu­ni­ties there are to share sto­ries with peo­ple, and it’s been fun to think about sto­ry­telling from a con­tent per­spec­tive. It’s also been fun get­ting to know all of the dif­fer­ent types of clients in our port­fo­lio. I’m excit­ed to be able to keep telling sto­ries about all the good things that are going on in the world, espe­cial­ly in the midst of the past cou­ple years’ worth of chal­leng­ing stories.

Quick, with­out think­ing about it: what’s your favorite assign­ment – 300 words or 3,000 words? And why? 

Three thou­sand – as long as my sub­ject mat­ter has plen­ty of infor­ma­tion to share. I like to be able to dive into a sto­ry a bit more. Our typ­i­cal word counts at Dairy Star were 800 to 1,200 words, and it was so great to be able to have that much room to explore something.

One thing I am notic­ing about the tran­si­tion from a news­pa­per to pub­lic rela­tions is that some of those longer word counts allow for more oppor­tu­ni­ties to use cre­ative lan­guage. That’s been real­ly fun.

Speak­ing of fun, tell us about your hob­bies out­side of work.

Out­side of our home, our two hap­py places are the farm and my husband’s family’s cab­in near Ely. We like to take our daugh­ters on small adven­tures, espe­cial­ly in nature, and are on a mis­sion to vis­it every state park. As the girls get old­er, we’re going to explore nation­al parks. Last year, we lost our fam­i­ly dog, Gus, who was an awe­some hik­ing bud­dy, so we also hope to get anoth­er pup­py someday.

Leave a Reply

Graphic with coffee cup and woman's headshot
What’s Brewing? with Jamie Taets, CEO of The Keystone Group
May 17, 2022
Five people pose standing. The man in the middle holds a trophy
Bellmont Partners Takes Home MN PRSA Classics Win
May 13, 2022
Graphic with headshot announcing promotion
Bellmont Partners Promotes Julie Goulette to Assistant Account Executive
May 12, 2022
Woman takes a selfie in front of a harbor with the Duluth Liftbridge in the background
Bridget Nelson Monroe Named One of Ragan and PR Daily’s 2022 Top Women in Communications
May 3, 2022
What's Brewing image with Bob and Dave from Sustainable Safari
What’s Brewing? With “Safari Bob” Pilz and Dave Harvey from Sustainable Safari
April 21, 2022
A hand holds a digital calendar on a desk with a cup of coffee and a cell phone
Values-Based National Holidays — Marketing Fodder or Tacky Virtue Signaling?
April 20, 2022

Categories